Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SJC holds worker's compensation lien does not apply to damages allocated to pain and suffering

Robert DiCarlo and Bernard Martin were both injured in the course of their employment and received worker's compensation benefits from Twin City Insurance Company.  They subsequently settled third-party claims.  Those settlements included damages for pain and suffering. 

The insurer sought reimbursement for itsworker's comp payments, including reimbursement from the pain and suffering portions of the third-party settlements. 

In DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., Inc. __ N.E.3d __, 2015 WL 10045032 (Mass. 2016), the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has held that the worker's comp lien does not extend to damages allocated to an employee's pain and suffering.

The SJC based its decision on  interpretation of the word "injury" in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 152, §15, the statute allowing worker's comp insurers to recover "the gross sum received in payment for the injury." 

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